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Brussels Is Struggling To Build Amazon Antitrust Case

 |  March 11, 2021

Regulators in Brussels are struggling to gather enough evidence to bring antitrust charges against Amazon, despite working on the landmark case for nearly two years, reported The Financial Times.

In July 2019, EU regulators accused the online retailer of manipulating its algorithm to boost its own products “artificially” over its rivals’. As a result, they alleged, users often end up buying lower-quality products at a higher price.

But EU officials are still struggling to understand how Amazon’s algorithm works, despite sending a series of detailed questions to the company about the criteria used to boost a product’s visibility, according to people familiar with the matter.

These people added that officials are also unlikely to be able to view the online retailer’s proprietary code directly to build their case, owing to legal barriers around trade secrets.

People noted that the EU’s case against Amazon is proceeding more slowly than other comparable investigations. The bloc is already set to bring charges against Apple over alleged abuse of its dominant platform in music streaming, for instance, after a two-year-long probe.

The case against Amazon comes as Brussels increases its scrutiny of big tech companies, publishing sweeping new draft laws in December seeking to curb their power.